08 December 2010

Catalunyan range hoods make me question everything I think I know

Range hoods used to be an afterthought. They were the unglamorous, practical thing that every kitchen needed. For years, they were the gnarled hand of necessity reaching into an otherwise lovely and well-thought out room. They were all so boxily utilitarian that nobody really thought about them.

All of that started to change since the beginning of the new millennium and we seem to be reaching some kind of critical mass with them. every time I turn around it seems, someone's re-thought the range hood again.

Well, most of the time I don't get too excited about these re-thought range hoods. Then I saw this.


That's the Sphere from Frecan.

Frecan is a Catalunyan appliance manufacturer with its headquarters in Barcelona. They didn't stop with the Sphere either. Check out the Saturn.


Between the two of them I'd be hard-pressed to pick which one I like more. Now clearly, some of these hoods (and I hate to call them hoods, the Brits call them "extractors" which sounds so much more elegant) aren't capable of venting to the outside, they just recirculate. Keep in mind that in their target market, they're not dealing with the enormous cooking appliances popular in the US. However, some of these models could be adapted to use in North America. Just look at these beauties.







Frecan's really onto something here, who says that range hoods have to be boring? Check out Frecan's website, maybe I'm not the only one who'll be questioning everything he thinks he knows.

17 comments:

  1. The white dome in #4 had me at "Hello!".

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  2. I love how half of those hoods look for all the world like pendant lights. Cool stuff!

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  3. #5 - it looks like a pendant lamp and not a range hood - great design!

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  4. It does. That was the first of these models I saw and I swore it was just a pendant with a metallic drum shade.

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  5. I'm the bad guy here but I don't see the purpose in our marketplace for these hoods (dun dun dunnnnn). This is the fancy version of a cheap microwave hood minus the microwave. I would never - never, tell a client to spend what I would presume is a lot of money on a hood that simply recirculates. In our modern designs, we trend towards removing superfluous items and this seems to be that - can you say "value engineering"? Modern design is supposed to be at it's roots performance driven, not just about how it looks.

    Sorry to be a downer. They are attractive but worthless (maybe it's a Texas thing)

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  6. Oh Bob, did you miss this paragraph: "Now clearly, some of these hoods (and I hate to call them hoods, the Brits call them "extractors" which sounds so much more elegant) aren't capable of venting to the outside, they just recirculate. Keep in mind that in their target market, they're not dealing with the enormous cooking appliances popular in the US. However, some of these models could be adapted to use in North America."

    I agree that in a North American kitchen, where there are tens of thousands of BTUs to vent out of a room, a recirculator is useless. However, over a two-burner induction cook top like what I'd find in a Spanish kitchen, these things would do fine.

    Some of these hoods do vent to the outside, in which case they would work over here.

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  7. That was a snappy response!

    No, I didn't miss that paragraph - it's actually the one that made me respond. The zippiest models are the ones that can't be vented to the outside and the last time I worked with a cook top with two burners it said "Coleman" on the side and I was re-hydrating freeze-dried beans and rice out the the woods.

    Now THAT was zippy.

    ps - yes, extractors sounds much better

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  8. Bob, Bob, Bob: The size of one's cooking appliances bears no correlation to the degree of one's manhood and I think that's what this is all about. You are a Texan after all and doesn't everything boil down to that in Texas?

    Now, this comments section exists as my personal amen corner. Only opinions that agree with mine and that praise my cleverness are welcome here. My fragile sense of self-worth depends on it. Please keep your comments complimentary in the future.

    You're welcome to come play in the sandbox any time you'd like but just remember that I'm the smart one around here.

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  9. Of course, of course. There are some things I take as self evident - your cleverness, wit, worldly knowledge and overall awesomeness. Sometimes my opinions are skewed because of all the oil money we have here in Texas. (and I have boundary issues)

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  10. Personally, I got on the innovative hood band wagon a long time ago. I have written dozens of blogs on this very subject, and every one of them, pretty much, points out the obvious. The under-cabinet range hood used in most kitchens is not a space-saver, because it runs a seven inch vent up through the wall cabinet, rendering that cabinet useless for anything but paraphernalia that is largely unused. Ours has coffee cups we don’t use and should probably just throw away. And we would, if the wife could be persuaded to part with them! The point, though, is that inasmuch as that particular space is worthless as a storage space, one might just as well install a kitchen hood that makes a design statement. And once you go down that road, you can do all kinds of glorious things with a kitchen design. If these hoods cannot be vented to the outside, it doesn’t matter much. It gets the creative juices flowing. Look around a little. There is any number of manufacturers like Elica who are very much on the cutting edge of hood design. And who knows? Once the word gets out on designs like this, Catalunyan may re-design some of them to vent properly so they can be sold in the USA.

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  11. And really, that was my point. So thanks! I love looking at what's available all around the world because it's always an inspiration, even when something won't work here.

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  12. These scream like prototypes from the 70's... therefore, I like them. It'd be interesting to see one in one of our kitchens... I like #2, but who has just a single burner?

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  13. Wow! Who knew that range hoods could be... well, sexy! My favourite is the one in the last picture - very cool :-)

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  14. Yeah, they do look great, but for functional kitchens I want something that ventilates.

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  15. would be nice of you Pail, to give the credit to the site you Saw This - http://www.appliancist.com/hoods_vents/range-hoods-frecan-light-collection.html

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  16. What? You're the only ones who get press releases?

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